The number of new cars sold in June was 73.6% lower than in the same month of last year, according to figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry.

Just 1,673 new cars were sold during the month, compared to 6,350 in June 2012.

So far this year there have been 53,230 new cars sold – 20.1% lower than in the first six months of 2012.

June was the last month where new cars would be sold with the designated ‘131’ registration year, with those sold in the second half of the year being marked as ‘132’.

SIMI blamed the dramatic fall in June on the fact that customers were waiting for the new plate, with director general Alan Nolan saying there was an expectation of a solid performance in July.

The most popular car brand for June was Volkswagen, while the German auto-maker’s Polo was the most popular car.